What's the best factory-made violin?

February 17, 2005 at 10:33 PM · Hi all,

Could anyone advise me on the best "factory" made violins? I've got a Stentor at the moment but the E sounds horrible (always sounds out of tune and screechy even after changing to better strings) and the D has a funny kind of blur/buzz. I can't afford a handmade so I'd really appreciate it if anyone could offer advice on what's proven the best for them?

Replies (10)

February 19, 2005 at 12:59 PM · There isn't any "best" factory violin. One can have quite a debate over what a "factory" is. And how can you tell where a particular instrument came from? I see the same instruments with different labels and different prices. I know they're from the same suppliers because I've asked.

Many "lines" contain violins from quite a few different places, cataloged something like "VN01" then "VN02" and "VN03" with similar labels indicating different models, but the source is clearly different for each level.

Some places (e.g., Eastman) have lines that come from the same facility. Some don't (e.g., Stringworks).

Perhaps better to indicate what instrument labels are available to you and ask for strengths and weaknesses in general of those instruments. Understanding that individual instruments vary.

February 19, 2005 at 01:16 PM · Hi Kate, Strings Magazine published an article some time ago on some violin outfits which were suitable to beginners looking not to fork out too much on their fiddles.

Here is the link to that article: http://www.stringsmagazine.com/issues/Strings96/coverstory.html.

I hope this helps! The scope of their review looks quite comprehensive.

February 19, 2005 at 05:23 PM · Kate, have you had a soundpost adjustment? I have a violin that started sounding brittle on the A string and not resonant turn around after a soundpost adjustment by a violin maker. Another violin was unbalanced, strong G and E string, weaker D and A string, and all fixed after a new soundpost (I did not even mention to the luthier that this was a problem), since I was getting a new bridge and soundpost anyway.

February 19, 2005 at 05:27 PM · Kate, in addition, you can get workshop violins (which are mostly handmade by different folks) for a reasonable price. At the last Tarisio auction there were a lot of nice lesser known French and German violins for a couple of hundred bucks. They were generally made in workshops in Mirecourt and Markneukirchen (sp?) about 100 years ago and are oftentimes quite nice.

February 19, 2005 at 06:15 PM · Kate, which Stentor have you got? And what is your budget?


February 19, 2005 at 06:58 PM · If you're looking at various 'factory' violins...take a look at Samuel Shen's line(s) as well...

February 20, 2005 at 05:12 AM · Snow. JinYang (maybe I have that spelled right). Angels. Eastman (especially the Mark Moreland line). And so on. Such a variety. Getting out and playing or hearing a bunch of violins played will help a great deal, especially if accompanied by someone who can explain the differences.

February 21, 2005 at 07:49 AM · Wow guys! thanks you all so much!

Keith - thanks for the article!

Clare - haven't had the soundpost adjusted. Would have to find out if there's anyone in my area who would be able to do that for me - but thanks for the advice!

Liz - have a bottom of the range stentor - Stentor student 1. My budget would probably be between R2000 and R3000... which (I think) works out to between $300 and $500. So it's not much... :o(

N.A. Mohr - thanks - do you maybe have a site where I can look at Shen's line?

Stephen - thanks! - will see if any music shops around stock any of the names you listed and whether I can play them without buying.

again- thank you all very much!


February 21, 2005 at 09:35 AM · Kate,

Stentor 1 is indeed rockbottom!

To get the best value for your money, unless South Africa is full of good violin shops which sell at reasonable prices, you are going to need to buy online.

For the price you mention we could supply you with something that will be vastly better than the Stentor, and with the present state of the dollar you would probably do even better buying from the US.

Steve may be able to fix you up, but if he can't, my very strong advice is to go here:


and get a Gems 2. Get it fitted with dominant strings and (assuming you want them) four adjusters. Then get a decent bow from somewhere else, I'd go for a Glasser 2000x if it were me.

You will have to pay any local sales taxes and customs so allow room for that within your budget.


February 21, 2005 at 12:19 PM · Hi Liz,

thanks - I'd kind of figured that I'd probably have to buy online to get something decent at a price I can manage!

am looking around on violinslover now - thanks!

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